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New Fairfax County, VA fire chief is Montgomery County, Maryland’s Chief Richard Bowers.

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Announcement from Fairfax County:

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors today appointed Richard R. Bowers Jr. as the county’s next fire chief. Bowers succeeds Chief Ronald L. Mastin, who plans to retire May 7. Bowers’ appointment is effective April 29, allowing overlap time for the transition of leadership.

A 35-year veteran of the Montgomery County, Md. Fire and Rescue Service, Bowers has served as MCFRS fire chief since 2008, managing the combined (career and volunteer) service of over 2,100 firefighters/rescuers. While serving as chief, he managed an operating budget of $204 million and a six-year capital improvement program budget of $44 million.

Bowers began in Montgomery County as a firefighter/EMT, rising through the ranks in numerous positions. He served in every rank in the department up to and including fire chief. A Pentagon and Hurricane Katrina New Orleans Citation Award recipient, he was Montgomery County’s Firefighter of the Year in 1985 and received the Marvin Gibbons Award for Excellence in Firefighter I – Recruit Class 35-1977.

He attended the University of Maryland, University College where he earned a master degree certification in human resource management, a bachelor of fire science degree and a public fire-protection management and administration education certificate. He also holds an associate degree from Montgomery College (Rockville). In addition, he has successfully completed the Montgomery County Government Leadership and Management Course as well as numerous courses from the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Training Academy, the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute Training and the National Emergency Training Center. Bowers also is currently enrolled in the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Emergency Training Center.

Currently chair of the Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments National Capital Region Fire Chiefs Committee, Bowers is a past chair of the Council of Governments Fire, Health and Safety Subcommittee. He also has served as an adjunct professor for the Montgomery College Rockville Fire Science Program, and was a Pentagon 9/11 operational response task force member and served as a member of the FEMA USAR Oklahoma City bombing disaster response team.

He will receive an annual salary of $187,500. 

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Comments - Add Yours

  • the ear

    Wow I am surprised but I knew he was looking for better things.Congratulations.

  • Lizard

    We’ll trade you one Police Chief for a Fire Chief and a draft pick to be named later.

  • Anonymous

    Start buying stock in Crimson. Only a matter of time before Fairfax has 35 new matching CAFS pumpers.

  • Another Dave

    I dont know if I’m more shocked that he is living or that Fairfax is paying him $187,500.00 a year. Hope he take’s those great engine’s with him.

    • Another Dave

      That should be leaving. See that’s how shocked I am.

  • Just an Observation…….

    Hmmmmm………Now does the NoVa Region start the Fire Chief swap again……..Does that mean Chief A K Thiel heads to Montgomery Co?

    • Herman Glick

      Wouldn’t that be wonderful. At least for the people in Alexandria.

  • Rob M.

    Say what you will about him, but he cares about his people & is an all-around great guy. I’ve known him for some time now & hope he succeeds in Fairfax. Now comes the speculation, who succeeds Bowers in MoCo?

  • Anonymous

    Wow…that’s interesting. Congrats to Richie, I guess ?. When the voters in Montgomery made a decision on a single fire chief over the local volunteer depts, they never understood the continued politics of the combination service would never stop. When Tommy was named, the question was who is next. Very few knew the interests and the system better than Richie. The question is going to be asked again.

    A couple things about this come to mind, Dave. First, the rumor was Dennis Rubin was going to get the Fairfax job. Second, what makes Richie think the headaches and his quality of life are going to be better on the other side of the river? Not. Third, Leggett still owes L-1663 for backing him when he ran. Is he running again? IMO, the Union has gotten everything it wanted in terms of new career stations and equipment, with the exception of the chain of command. Richie might have been a good fireman, but there’s a lot of variability in his companies and a lot of infighting amongst the paid and vollies – something he was never able to control anyway.

    So, who’s next???

  • CareerLt

    Will someone PLEASE take the Assistant Chief in Baltimore County who has been criss crossing the country looking for a job? Paraphrasing Henny Youngman “Take my Chief, PLEASE!!”

  • http://thisone Firedad

    Hopefully he remembers that his Ops chief issued an order that forbids the use of CAFS on structural fires,guess the question maybe will he bring in any of his cronies. I guess the taxpayers will shoulder the burden of his massive OT budget and three ring firetrucks. So the saving grace will be he could want to restore discipline and intergrity, the choosen few drove out the best Ops chief FFX ever had with townhouse fire antics and then promoted the those who failed. Possibly a breath of fresh air.

  • Jeff D.

    Tippett back to Montgomery now?

    • Anonymous

      Nothing personal against Tippet, but that’s all they need is more so called safety and accountability in Montco. Paralysis over putting out a simple house fire because common sense firefighting has gone the way of the past. That’s what Montco has become and Tippett was part of that cultural brainwashing, IMO.

  • Anonymous

    $187,500 per year, Must be nice.

    • Anonymous

      Plus his pension from Montgomery. Good financial move. Double dip without needing to move out of the DC area.

  • the ear

    Don’t worry about him buying rigs in Fairfax County.They have a very good fleet and I don’t care what was done in Montgomery but he is in another place where people have tremendous influence and connections.
    He won’t have volunteer issues but he has other big ones to be addressed He has big shoes to fill let’s see what happens

  • Anonymous

    I would like to comment on some remarks made here about Chief Bowers. In some remarks there seems to be some sarcastic uncalled for words. (1) First of all Bowers didnot by himself select nor make the choice for Crimson, It was done by competitive bid. ie; The initial contract went to now defunct Elite Fire Apparatus. They in turn purchased the Spartan Chassis and went belly up. Chief Carr had to re do the entire Apparatus contract. Crimsoin happen to come in first. (2) Bowers is an Honest and Decent man. His knowledge of Fire/Rescue Service is and always has been above reproach. Also just FYI for those who always seem to want to criticize,
    Bowers is the second Fire Chief to leave Montgomery County for Fairfax County. In 1983 the late Fire Chief Warren E.Isman good Lord rest his Soul went to Fairfax County. His Professionalism and initiatives helped to bring about Fairfax Coutny as Nationally ranked and Respected Fire and rescue Department. Chief Bowers is today one of the Nationally Respected Fire Chiefs. His contributions to the Fire/Rescue Service isnot for himself.”He always strives and promotes the most important issue to Firefighters “Train,Train,Train. This always benefits the Fire/Rescue Personnelfor Operations today in the 21st Century. For those individuals who speak in such a smart mouth attitude, have you not heard about NFFF 16 Safety
    Measures. “Everyone Goes Home”. Fairfax Coutny is getting a Fire Chief who knows his job, and does it well. He in turn, just as Chief Warren Isman did, expects the very best from each Firefighter.

    • Dcfireman

      Thanks, Chief Bowers.
      Welcome to the comments section

  • Anonymous

    Bowers did an amazing job in MoCo. During his time as chief, the number of fires confined to the room of origin when from 40% to 99%.

    That amazing progress was clearly due to 4 man staffing and aggressive dispatches of 5 engines and 4 special services on all building fires…it had nothing to do with removing adaptive dispatches (2 and 1) changing ALL calls involving smoke to box assigned (smoking microwave, food on the stove, smoking light fixture).

    Fairfax, get ready to run some box alarms…

    • Commenter

      Yep. If you count every FOS and defective appliances as a fire, it’s easy to contain 99% of them to the room of origin.

  • Flash

    Have tou seen Bowers lately???? He should have taken his pension and left. He is to old to cut the Mustard anymore!!!! I have known him his whole career and he does not have it anymore. Nice guy? Yes. Able to do the job?? NO!

    • play4keeps

      Not true: Richie is in the gym 0530 most mornings and does a pretty good job of it. He will do just fine in Fairfax, probably better than Montgomery – plenty of money to spend and not really a combo system anymore. The Union will love him…

  • haveyouseenmybaseball?

    I heard MoCo was getting Rubin…

  • Anonymous

    In response to haveyouseenmybaseball, That statement is absolutely a Rumor Out of Control. In all probability the County will select an Interim Fire Chief from within the ranks of Chief Officers. Whoever this person will be shall serve until after the next election next November. There will be a Nationwide Search. This exactly what occurred when Chief Carr left and Chief Bowers was appointed as Acting Fire Chief. The main issue here is this is Budget preparing by all Department
    Heads in the County Government. Without question there are any number of Good Decent Chief Officers in the Nation’s Fire Service Community. Chief Dennis is such one of the many Professional Chief Officers out there. He may in turn apply there is no guarantee he will be selected. The County Executive will make the final selection afetr a lengthy Nationwide Search, The Executive will then submit that Chief’s name to the County Council for Confirmation.

  • ukfbbuff

    Congratulations to Chief Richard “Richie” Bowers.

    I’ve met him a couple of times, at the 2005, Mont. Co. Women in the Fire Service Conference and later at the 2009 i-women Conference in Omaha, Nebraska,

  • IDHL

    Anonymous is absolutely right. MCFRS will have an interim chief for awhile. There will be no rush as the current rank and file have earned their position and can easily fill in. That is one aspect of MCFRS, those that have the designation chief officer, have earned it and are highly capable individuals. It will be good to have a change with a fresh set of eyes looking at the issues facing the department.

  • Anonymous

    it DOES NOT matter what any of you think-it really doesn’t

  • Ron Stuart

    Bowers is the most capable chief in COG right now. He is the best person for the fire chief’s position where-ever it may be. I just wish Bowers was coming to DC but the problem is he is not the right race- and DC won’t hire chiefs based on ability, experience or knowledge, with one exception 4 or 5 years ago- and the current “chief” is working as hard as he can to discredit that previous chief, though he couldn’t even hold the proverbial “match” to Dennis. PG is doing well, and all the other fire dpeartments in COG seem to be maintaining. We started to get better in DC, now it is all collapsing a-la Ray Alfred, again. Congrats RB and best of luck.

  • http://statter911 firedad

    Well is this not a plethora of assumed truths and myabe facts from a many in the buisness.I think afetr reading all of these maybe a bit of prospective needs to be put in print as well. Certainly there will be those from Montgomery that cannot wait to see him exit, but that happens everywhere Right.He was probably stuck with the “CAFS PUMPER DEBACLE” , keep in mind that county agency like many others truly believes that cutting edge will compensate for the lack of manpower and experienced fireground leadership, remember they too had their own version of a “TOWNHOUSE FIRE GONE BAD” at Leisure World. If he can bring a bit of discipline to Fairfax, transparency to their promotional processes which really seem to lack credibility from those inside and yes those who have been promote as well. Take the “country club atomosphere away and make everyone accept that it is a job will be crucial.Sure FFX has it’s woes but don’t we all, please remember almost all the COG Chiefs have a considerable ego.I think they (FFX) are lucky they did not recycle another past chief trying to satisfy their own selfish desires and EGO. They have many and the best of them probably never applied!!! For the DC guy who is clearly in pain with the current guy, consider it a learning experience, you guys have always been the best at fires, certainly moved in on every other aspect of fire service as true professionals. Anyone with good sense would know now, before and forward that the city service will always be better to prepare you for the worst, look at staffing, response times etc, the burbs will never be in that game. Many who work in the burbs have pride as well and do a good job in their respective areas, if you do not spit on them they too know deep down they just are different.Just remember yes the last guy was good for you guys, but I hear all things that the Atlanta IAFF warned of came to fruition. One thing for sure Chief Bowers will never have to defend any bad things for the fire/rescue service because FFX has an uncanny ability to make things disappear and the bad goes away.Good luck to him, maybe somehow he can make things a bit better, without criss/crossing the country talking about it, actually looking inside the agency and fix what may be wrong, we all have it!!!